Pandemic Fashion in Atlanta: A Q/A with Laura Craft.
Updated: Jun 11, 2020
During the Coronavirus outbreak, Atlanta was one of the last large cities in America to really consider a "shelter in place" policy mandatory. And even then, the vibe was still iffy with whether or not this really needed to be done. Things in the south generally tend to move slowly, always have. Eventually, almost everything did come to a standstill. And because of this, certain people were a little bit easier to get a hold of. Enter Atlanta native, Laura Craft.
While creativity, individual style, and imagination may know no bounds, the debate about whether Instagram is actually helping or hurting the female motorcycle market is still (and maybe for some time) hotly debated. Who is getting the most attention, what the next big craze we need to jump on? Who thought Cafe bikes were ever going to become as big as they are?
Is there actually a female market that's not being utilized, (GEAR) or is this just a passing phase? The marketing teams must be constantly in a state of intrigue trying to figure these questions out. One thing that is clear in today's market, is that people like Laura are a very small niche.
With what Instagram has become, she's almost something of an anomaly. Currently, she has 63.5k followers. If she wanted to, I have absolutely no doubt she could triple that number overnight.
However, likes and followers mean different things to different people. For a small percentage of IG personalities, that was never their goal from the beginning.
(Shirt by Hugo Boss, pants by Fashion Nova)
This is the part where I tell you that this whole fashion themed Q/A was not her idea but mine. If you follow Laura you'll know that her content is pretty consistent. So since we are in the middle of a global pandemic, I humbly suggested that we have a little fun and get creative. Thankfully she obliged.
(Purple Shirt by Banana Republic, pants by Mango)
You can tell a lot about a person by what they wear. In the motorcycle community, what a person rides will tell you infinitely more. The brand and style are like personal tattoos.
Laura's two bikes may be from the same brand, but in terms of both style and personality, they are wildly different. The Monster 1200S is basically a refined naked homicidal maniac, that is adept at pummeling you with brute horsepower. On the other hand, the Panigale V4 is undoubtedly the sexiest and most sophisticated speed demon Ducati has ever created. The drool factor is 98.9 and its design elements are exquisite. It too may try to kill you, but in such a sensual and alluring way that you probably wouldn't even mind.
Ok, that's not actually true. Ducati motorcycles are not trying to kill you. Shame on me for even suggesting such a thing. Although... they are Italian and do have a speed agenda grafted to their DNA. So, maybe just treat them with the respect they deserve and you'll be fine. Capiche?
( Shoes by FILA)
With a few outfit changes to get through, Laura and I had plenty of time to sit down and chat about her moto journey thus far. So if you've never met her before or don't know what Instagram is, here's just a small insight into a particular woman who likes a particular thing.
AFS- When did you start riding?
LC- "10 years ago. Before learning to ride, I had only been on the back of a motorcycle twice ever. A guy that I was seeing gifted me a helmet and a few years later I was about to chuck it in the trash, but then I had that crazy idea. What if I actually took the time to learn how to ride. I bounced the idea off of a friend who encouraged me. and before I knew it I was signed up for an MSF course. My intentions were to learn how to ride but never actually buy a bike. Owning a bike seemed scary. So, I took the course and got my license. Eagerly I asked the MSF instructor for what the next course to sign up for was. He said this was the end of the line, and my next decision should be what bike to buy. No, I thought! That was not my intention. I kept going back and forth in my head and finally said, ok well if I can get really specific on a bike I want, then I’ll get it. I set the hurdle high and before I knew it, everything fell in place and I had a BMW F800ST. I bought it from one of the most knowledgable bike owners one could buy from. Did I mention that I didn’t know anyone who rode? So I bought a bike and had no one to ride with.
(Jacket by bebe boots by Elie Tahari)
AFS - Ok, so multi-layered question. You started with BMW and then moved into Italian territory with Ducati. What's the best adventure you've had so far? And if Ducati disappeared, what are you riding next?
LC- "Well I love adventure (laughing) My favorite has to be my weekend mountain trips or track excursions. I love riding to the mountains for a weekend and exploring new places for nightlife. I’m lucky to now know a lot of folks who I can do this with.
In my opinion, BMWs are smooth and easy bikes. My first bike the F800ST had things I loved seeing like the tire pressure sensor which displayed on the console. My second bike (S1000RR) had power and precision. I got really fast on the S1000RR by going to the track. Actually, my track mentality made the mountains boring for a while. I knew my next bike needed to be something that would push me a little out of my comfort zone could test my skills in a different way.
So that choice for me was Ducati. I love that feeling of more untamed power and the beautiful lines of the bike. A twist of the throttle on a Ducati is about as much fun as one could ever ask for. In my experience, Ducatis really demand your attention. Right now I'm really enjoying that feeling as a rider. If for some reason Ducati went under and all their bikes disappeared, I'd have to give some serious thought to owning an MV Agusta. I got to test drive a Brutale recently and really loved it. There's just something unique about Italian bikes."
(Heels by Mix No. 6 )
AFS- Do you think that success on Instagram has had an impact on your life?
LC- "Success on Instagram is a term that’s laughable for me. I joined to find friends to ride with. Then Instagram became a creative outlet. I’ve always been an artist at heart. For fun, back in the day, I modeled for projects. In my personal life, I journaled every day. Then my passion became riding. Put the pictures, words, and riding altogether and then publish it. That's what Instagram became for me. There are some added cool benefits that come with the territory, but that's was never my reason for posting. I just wanted to meet some fellow riders".
(Sunglasses by Tom Ford, Jacket by Blank NYC)
AFS- What's the biggest thing that's changed for you since you started riding?
LC- "GEAR! I wish I would have known more about riding gear! When I learned how to ride, I didn’t know anything about the proper gear. For years, I rode in nothing but jeans and a jacket. Neither of which were made for riding. My first riding jacket was a men’s jacket. The options for women that I knew of, were pretty much nonexistent. And the gear that was available, had barely any protection.
The standard of protection I wear now is so much higher than when I started, its almost embarrassing. But when you don't have options or know where to find them..."
AFS- Speaking of protection, you love showing off your gear on IG.
(Pants by Reiss, Heels by Kelly & Katie)
LC- " I have been extremely lucky in getting to showcase some amazing brands. I don't believe in speaking about things I'm not passionate about though. So if you see me wearing or using something, it's not a paid advert."
AFS- Ok then, what can you safely talk about?
LC- "As far as gear, nothing beats the two-piece REV’IT! Leathers for women; I’m tall so their options are about the only ones that fit me off-the-rack This year they finally came out with a one-piece suit for women and I was fortunate to be the first female to wear it on track at a trackday photoshoot. I'm also a big fan of Mithos, their custom kangaroo leather feels amazing, and the airbag adds super protection. The fact that you can customize a design with them is an added bonus.
There's a really neat sunglass company I recently got turned onto called Flying Eyes. They specialize in performance sunglasses made exactly to fit inside motorcycle helmets! I'm looking to give them a full test run soon. Fun fact, I'm notoriously listening to tunes and sometimes chatting with fellow riders on my moto trips. So I've been really impressed with Cardo's system and their Dynamic Mess Communications (DMC).
As far as my feet, I adore Stylmartin performance racing boots and can't wait to try out their 2020 causal sporty sneakers. For my rubber, I keep switching back and forth between Pirelli and Metzeler. Both are amazing! At the moment, I'm running RacetecRR K2s for my V4 and SporttecRR M9s for my Monster."
AFS- What's the future of riding look like to you?
LC- "Over the years, Its been sad to see less and less MotoGP races in the US and to hear about a general sentiment that ridership is down. However, I’ve been surprised by recent stories of motorcycle sales being up with the current pandemic and seeing a ton of riders in the mountains. For those who were fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of it, maybe the Coronavirus is slowing us down just enough to give us more personal time to do the things we enjoy. The world is going through a reset; I hope personal passions and hobbies come out on top. My hope is that the future of motorcycling grows stronger."
(Sunglasses by Flying Eyes)
It's about 6 pm when I remember to look at my watch and realize were completely going to blow past Laura's timeline for this shoot. My genuine apology works, and I'm granted what turns out to be almost another full hour where we get some really fun stuff. With all sincerity, I can tell you that Laura is one of the warmest and nicest people I've had the pleasure of talking to recently. She's disarmingly transparent, and for large portions of time, you forget how statuesque she is. That is until she throws on a pair of heels, or puts on her riding gear.
(Jacket by REV!'IT)
Her private and professional life don't intermingle with her Instagram, and that's on purpose. As it says in her bio, this is just "A slice of my world".
The more we talk, the conversation starts leading towards a nerdy motorcycle narrative; engine and horsepower specs, how certain bikes feel under riding conditions, and how we both like certain Ducati's over other ones. We both wish they could fix the heat issue with a certain Panigale. If they did, I say it might be the perfect sportbike.
There's a lot that Laura still wants to do in terms of riding adventures. We discuss what a legitimate traveling motorcycle show (that highlighted both female riders and global travel) would look like, and if she might be able to play a small part in that. The possibilities seem endless.
A few days later after I've sorted through at least 300 very useable pictures, I'm having difficulty nailing down a closing shot. I think I've found it, but it turns out that the angle doesn't quite work for what I want to say. Which is a shame because it's an epic shot. So instead, I go with my second choice. Since the whole theme of this blog was to get creative, I decided to do something I usually don't.
Speaking from personal experience, Instagram is usually a fun place to visit. Creative people from all over the world post pics, videos, and small stories about what they're doing and how they feel. In the right hands, it's a powerful and clever tool that we use as a bridge of connection. While I'm generally not keen on using filters with pictures, I understand why they're fun. And with what's going on right now, I don't think it's overstating the obvious that we could all use a little break from reality and filter in a little fun.
To see more of what Laura has been doing, you can visit her site, or check out this video.